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    Everything Else Fabulous

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe with Just One Suitcase

    Looking and Feeling Grand on the Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    After wearing the same clothes over and over on our Grand Adventure I was looking forward to some major shopping once I got back in the USA. I knew I could create a fabulous travel wardrobe that would fit in  just one suitcase.

    I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two months purging my old travel wardrobe and adding fresh new and fabulously fun and comfortable items. ¬†There are only five items from my previous wardrobe (excluding underwear) that make the cut for this next phase of my fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The white dress five ways. This is from J. Jill. I’m gonna love this dress I think.

    I have a really good understanding now of what works for me as a full-time traveler; what makes me feel good; is comfortable, pretty and easy to care for; what is well constructed and can withstand hand washing, sweat and constant wear; and most importantly what is versatile for many kinds of climates and all kinds of fabulous.

    That’s what I look for in a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black Dress six ways. This is a TravelSmith purchase, wrinkle free fabric. I love it. It made the cut for this next phase. Denim jacket is Levi. ¬†Black and white kimono scarf I bought in Bali. White tie blouse is from Macy’s.

    Granted, most of the clothes I need are for warmer climates.  However on this next phase we will see some cool weather, especially while we are in Spain and Portugal in late October and November.  So I need to take this into consideration.

    I’m basing my fabulous travel wardrobe on some anchor pieces including; one white dress, one black dress, one pink dress and one green dress. ¬†In addition I have added; one black linen drawstring pants, one white linen drawstring pants, one white walking shorts and one black walking shorts.

    With these anchor pieces I have added multiple tank tops and t-shirts and blouses as well as one sweater, two cardigans and my denim jacket. I also have two kimono scarf wraps (one silk, one cotton) and two

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The green dress four ways. This is another Travel Smith purchase. The silk Kimono scarf and the black leggings are from Sirvana

     

    scarfs.  All of these items together can create an endless array of options for me.  The photos show just some of the ideas I have.

    I also have a couple of fun hats and a small collection of versatile jewelry to mix and match. ¬†Although most of the time we aren’t getting dressed up, it’s nice to have some jewelry options for casual outfits as well.

    My wardrobe includes

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Pink dress four ways. I got this dress on a clearance rack at J.Jills. It’s linen – my favorite fabric. There is that Sirvana kimono again. ¬†Teal and pink scarf is from Target.

    some handbags and six pairs of shoes. ¬†My shoe choices are flat or low heeled with excellent arch support and lots of comfort. ¬†Anything other than that doesn’t make the cut of a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    In my suitcase you will also find my small collection of mix and match items that serve me for hiking, running and yoga. ¬†These activities are a big part of most every day in My Fab Fifties Life so making sure I am comfortable when I’m working out is a priority. ¬†Our fall hike of the Porto Camino will likely include some rainy days, so I am preparing¬†with a better rain poncho

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    White pants and or shorts six ways. There are endless options here. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom. The white shorts I have had for years. Black lace duster from Sirvana. Blue and white striped tank is DraperJane by Reece Witherspoon. White Lace tank from Travel Smith. Washed denim top from Marshalls and red top from StitchFix.

    than the one I had last year on the Spain Camino.

    I bought two of the same swimsuit but in different colors. ¬†This way I can wear the first one until it starts to fall apart and have a back up ready. ¬†I hated trying to shop for a swimsuit on our travels. And because I wear a suit almost every day, mostly in salt water, they really wear out. ¬†I’m also bringing my older one-piece suit that I found in storage. ¬†I prefer a one piece suit when snorkeling so I want to have it for those times.

    Making the cut from last years wardrobe are my

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black pants and or shorts eight ways. Of course black is flattering, but these pants are also comfortable. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom, black shorts I have had for years. Teal button up tank and print tank from J Jill. White top with black embellishment is from Macys. Mustard sweater is Coldwater Creek.

    bold flowered print long sleeve gauze blouse. ¬†I love the color and comfort of this top and even though it’s long sleeved it is perfect in hot weather. ¬†It will come in handy in Muslim countries where I want to cover my arms.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My gear for running and yoga. Black shorts and shoes are Brooks. Leggings from Sirvana.

    I’m also bringing my 12-year-old teal linen sundress which is my favorite and is a perfect beach coverup. ¬†I did some hand stitching to it this summer to fix the hem and some fraying. Good as new and ready to go again.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    I have hiking options for all weather possibilities. And we likely will use them all! Most everything you see here is from REI. Poncho from Magellan. My hiking shoes are from Kuru- specifically designed for plantar fasciaitis.

    In addition I’m throwing in my denim cropped white jeans. ¬†I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of jeans and they work in so many ways. ¬†A keeper for sure. My black shorts are also on the return list.

    And finally, my black dress from Travel Smith I wore over and over on the last phase of our travels I will wear over and over on the next phase.  This dress is a wonderful wrinkle free fabric and feels really good to wear.

    There are a few other minor miscellaneous items I plan to bring, but I feel more pared-down than when we left two years ago.  We both will continue to use our sturdy REI roller bags, now in their fourth year and who knows how many miles and baggage handlers they have endured.  We had to change the wheels on one of them, and are carrying a set of wheels for the other bag just in case.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My swim attire – the blue and the green tops are identical except for color. I bought the Sarong in Bali and there is my old trusty teal linen sundress that has been around the world several times.

    In addition Arne has his backpack and I have my new roller carry-on. ¬†I’m confident we will have plenty of room. ¬†Not only for our clothes but for all the other items (did you see the YouTube video we posted about packing non clothing items? ¬†We also posted a time-lapse on Youtube that is fun to watch).

    The thing is, you would basically pack the same if you were going on a month-long vacation. ¬†Granted there are some things you wouldn’t need to pack (back up wheels for your suitcase or 12-months of contact lenses), but it’s essentially the same. ¬†I would most likely bring the same amount of clothes for a month as I am for a year, a fabulous travel wardrobe. ¬†It’s all about planning and knowing how to mix and match to feel and be your fabulous best. ¬†Everyday, every country, everywhere. ¬†Go. Be. Fabulous.

    Launch is in T-minus 25 days!

     

    Fab North America Travel

    Seattle Ride the Ducks For A Quacking Good Time

    Location: Seattle Washington USA

    Full disclosure РI always thought this whole Ride the Ducks thing looked pretty silly.  Even though I love Hop On Hop Off busses and walking tours in cities around the world РI had never done a Ride the Ducks in any of Seattle Ride the Ducks the countries or cities I have visited. Until last week when I joined Seattle Ride the Ducks for a Quacking Good Time.

    Additional full disclosure. ¬†My son was our Ducks Tour Guide (alias Kirk O’Bane).

    Seattle Ride the DucksIf it wasn’t for the fact that my son has joined the Seattle Ride the Ducks team as a tour guide, well, I probably would still be a Ride the Ducks virgin. ¬†But of course we wanted to see our son in action so my husband and I took our two moms to Seattle for a day on the Duck. ¬†So much fun.Seattle Ride the Ducks

    And seriously, my son was a great guide, but now that I have done a Ducks tour I am sure it would be awesome no matter who your guide is. ¬†We didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

    Seattle Ride the DucksThe tour is high-energy and interactive with lot’s of cheering and clapping and singing along. ¬†But of course it’s also interesting and informative. ¬†We learned a lot about Seattle, its history and current rapid growth. ¬†The tour included¬†fun facts and figures, and interesting little known quirky bits about the city.Seattle Ride the Ducks

    It was particularly fun to get out on Lake Union and see the very Seattle lifestyle of living on a houseboat (Remember Sleepless in Seattle?) as well as seeing the Seattle skyline from the lake and watching a Kenmore Air floatplane fly low over us and land on the lake.

    The 90 minute tour is worth every bit of the $35 ticket price.  I highly recommend checking out Ride the Ducks of Seattle if you are a visitor or a local.  You will have a quacking good time.

    Be sure and ask for “Kirk O’Bane”. ¬†Proud Mama. ¬†Fabulous.

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Preparing to Travel Full Time – It’s In The Details

    The Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    Note Рat the request of one of my friends, I have updated this blog, originally posted in November 2016, with fresh new information.  Enjoy it again.

    “How exactly do you prepare to leave the country and travel full-time?”

    As our departure day to leave the USA again grows near, this is the recurring question.  People we meet often show, interest, surprise, envy, jealousy, horror and confusion. But most of all they are curious. How exactly do you prepare to leave the country and travel full-time?

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Thailand

    So over the past couple of weeks I have been pulling together some details to share again. A lot of details. ¬†In fact, I would answer the above question with a simple sentence. ¬†“It’s in the details.”

    Before we embarked on the first phase of the Grand Adventure we spent several years preparing.  A younger person, like my son, can prepare more quickly, in a matter of months.  But for Fab Fifty rock stars like me and my husband, it took more time.

    For us about three years.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Morocco

    When the idea first sprouted, I knew immediately we would do it. ¬†Without a question I knew it was right for us. ¬†All while knowing it isn’t right for everyone.

    In fact, making a major life change like this should take some serious soul¬†searching – are you cut out for a life of travel? What is your tolerance level? ¬†Consider everything from beds to cultural customs when considering your personal tolerance for living outside of the United States. ¬†Do you have phobias? Afraid of bugs? Snakes? Rodents or people not like you? Are you afraid of cultures where everyone isn’t white? ¬†Are you willing to eat new foods, communicate in languages other than English and squat to go to the bathroom? Give it a think because, a life of full-time travel isn’t for sissies or intolerant people. You gotta be open, willing and fairly fearless while being smart, observant and adventurous.

    Once you know your tolerance level that in-turn will help you determine your budget.  Because if you are only willing to stay in upscale American style hotels, then your budget will need to look very different

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Vietnam

    from ours. ¬†Our travels have us staying in primarily Airbnb’s that average about $70. ¬†And honestly if you are only willing to stay in American brand hotels with 300 thread count sheets and someone to cater to your every whim – well, you should just stay in the USA. Because you will miss the most rewarding part of travel – getting out of your comfort zone and expanding your world view.

    We have a daily budget of $200 all-inclusive (transportation, lodging, food and misc).  This is plenty for most places and not enough for a few places, but we are frugal and hope it all evens out.  Because the

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Spain

    reality is if we can’t stay within our designated budget then the Grand Adventure will be over, sooner rather than later.

    Speaking of timeline – we don’t have one. ¬†This of course would not work for everyone, but for us it fits. ¬†We will continue the vagabond life as long as we are having fun. ¬†As soon as it becomes anything other than fun, we will wrap it up. ¬†But so far, 99% fun.

    So listed below are some “details” on how to prepare to leave the country and travel full-time. ¬†Most of these things we have had to learn on our own – so if this list can alleviate any work for someone else considering traveling abroad full-time in retirement, use it well.

    PURGE – we started our purge process more than two years before we put our house on the¬†market, as we let go of nearly every bit of fluff we owned, including house, cars, boats, trailer, furniture and more. ¬†We have a 10×12 storage unit now that is holding what remains of our stationary lifestyle and life’s memories. During this same period we worked to purge my Dad’s house, remodel his place and get it on the market as well as move him to a smaller place. ¬†It was a big goal to get him out of his large house before we left. It was a huge job but it needed to be done.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Cambodia

    DOCUMENTS Рwe updated our passports even though they were not expired, so we would not have any issues with needing to do that from abroad.  We also updated our Washington State Drivers License.  We will carry a copy of our marriage certificate with us but not our birth certificates because the passport is sufficient.  We have researched every possible country we think we might visit to learn the entry/visa requirements. We are carrying extra passport photos because some countries require obtaining a visa on entry with photo. We also carry International Drivers License, even though we have NEVER been asked for one.

    SPREADSHEET Рwe created a spread sheet, which is evolving constantly and we can access via Google Drive, to track all of our travel including air and ground transportation and lodging.  This spreadsheet includes notes regarding entry rules for countries. It’s also a fun tool for tracking so many things from miles traveled to beds slept in.  The data we have is incredible.

    MAIL – we are using a PO Box that belongs to my Mother-in-law, but we are trying hard not to receive

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Croatia

    any mail.  We have notified our friends and family not to snail mail us, we have contacted magazines and catalogs to eliminate junk (not very successful however) and we have changed all of our banking, retirement and property related mail to online only. I canceled my 35 year subscription to Bon Apetit.

    TECHNOLOGY – we have new smart phones, an iPad and my Brand new light weight Mac Book that will travel with us. ¬†In addition we will bring our old flip phone. ¬†For our smartphones (we each have an iPhone) we buy a sim card in each country for one of our phones to enable the phone to have a local phone number and data. ¬†We then also use our iPhones with wifi for things like blogging, Facebook and Instagram. ¬†The flip phone is programmed¬† with our old Verizon phone number from the states. ¬†Although we don’t plan to use that number often, it keeps it active for emergency.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Seychelles

    We also have our Bose noise-canceling headphones and our Bose SoundLink Mini speaker that measures about 6 in x 3 in.  We carry this with us and it allows us to listen to music using Spotify and listen to Audible or other books.

    APPS РWe have a few travel apps we like especially Airbnb, Expedia and Google Maps.  We also have a Google translate which is really cool.  You can point your phone at a sign or menu item in another language and it will show you what it says in English.  Love it.  We use WhatsApp, an app that allows you to make overseas calls via the internet, this is primarily the way we communicate with our kids.  To call our parents, who aren’t on WiFi, we use an app called TextNow which allows free phone calls from anywhere to the USA. We also use Kindle, Yelp, Uber, Get Your Guide and Trip Advisor.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure New Zealand

    CORDS AND CHARGERS – I honestly don’t understand why there isn’t a universal cord for all electronics, but alas wishful thinking. ¬†So we have organized and sorted all our cords, charges and adaptors to travel along. We research ahead to make sure we know what adaptors we need in each country. We have one packing cube we use for all of these items.

    CREDIT CARDS – don’t you hate it when your credit card company announces suddenly that you are being mailed a new credit card because your card has been compromised? ¬†Well that would really screw us up if that happens. ¬†So we have FOUR credit cards. ¬†One is our primary and three are backups. ¬†Three cards have no foreign transaction fees (which is a killer). ¬†We also have multiple ATM cards. All credit and debit cards are chipped. ¬†VERY IMPORTANT is that we do not carry all these cards together in one place. ¬†That way, if our wallet or purse is lost or stolen, we will have back up cards available in a different location. ¬†We have contacted all of the card companies for both credit and debit and let them know we will be traveling abroad for an extended period. ¬†We have put a reminder on our calendar to do this again periodically. We carry several hundred US dollar in cash for emergencies.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Portugal

    PRESCRIPTIONS – I take two prescriptions regularly. ¬†It’s been a challenge to get enough of my meds stocked up. ¬†My insurance company will allow, with a special doctor’s note, two 90 day vacation overrides. ¬†I have been stocking up in other ways too, but it’s not going to be enough. ¬†I will need to find access to these meds to fill the rest of the time, because we won’t be back in the US for a visit until next summer. Shipping prescriptions abroad is illegal. We have some people coming to visit us, so I may have them bring me my pills. But I am confident I can find the meds or an equivalent. ¬†I will need to pay cash for those at the time. ¬†I have also 12 months worth of contact lenses and we each have our glasses plus a back up pair.

    DOCTORS – during the three months we have been in the USA we have had a ton of appointments; family physician for full physicals, new prescriptions and precautionary antibiotics; eye doctor for new contacts and glasses; dermatologist for annual check up; dentist for cleaning and some work; gynecologist for check up; and annual mammogram. I had my updated yellow fever, and DPT shot and did a round of typhoid and got a two month supply of malaria meds.

    MEDIVAC INSURANCE – considering our age, we felt there was value in purchasing evacuation insurance. ¬†This insurance covers expenses to transport us back to the USA in case of a medical emergency that can’t be handled locally.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Spain

    EXPEDIA AND AIRBNB – we love how these two
    online websites allow us to keep files of all your bookings.  This eliminates the need for printing and gives us easy access to our bookings.  We use them both frequently.

    DECIDING WHERE TO GO РAfter two years of non-stop travel we feel much more comfortable with our movement around the planet.  It feels natural.  We usually agree on where we want to go and make our decisions based on budget, weather, safety and interest. We love to go new places, but have a few favorites we return to. We take turns planing the itinerary, often taking a country each.

    Although we aren‚Äôt completely booked yet, we have a plan for August 2018 through June 2019 that includes; Denmark (visiting Arne’s cousins), Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Egypt &Jordan (the only countries currently where we are doing a tour), Portugal & Spain (where we will walk our second Camino de Santiago), Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru & Chile (these five countries on a cruise with Arne’s Mom), Brazil, Costa Rica (joined by our friends from Washington), El Salvador, Belize (joined by our two sons), Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Tunisia

    GIRL STUFF – I’ve learned some things about myself over the past two years. Despite how easy it is to have long hair and wear it in a pony tail everyday, I just hate the look on me. ¬†So the budget will need to include more haircuts. ¬†Mostly I do my own nails and wear hardly no makeup, but I still like to have my eyebrows waxed from time to time. I have just a handful of earrings and necklaces I wear and of course the charm bracelet. I‚Äôve just purchased a jewelry case that‚Äôs I hope will help my jewelry not take such a travel beating.

    The Grand Adventure Australia

    PACKING Рthis topic is by far the one most people ask about, and indeed one of the hardest.  We will continue to use two large REI rolling bags.  Arne will continue to use his backpack as a carry on. But this time my backpack will stay home and I just purchased a new rolling carry on. And packing cubes have changed my life.  Organized and categorized I love using packing cubes.

    It helps that we are traveling, for the most part, to warm climates or to areas during their warm season. ¬†We may see cool and rainy in Portugal and Spain in the late fall. Honestly the clothing choice has been easier than the shoes. ¬†And the bulkiest items are not clothes or shoes it’s toiletries and

    The Grand Adventure Namibia

    medicines. I just purchased a flat style toilette bag to replace the larger boxier cube style one we have been carrying. I’m hoping this will free up some space in the suitcase.

    Without a doubt I am bringing twice the clothes as my husband, but I have learned so much this past two years for what works for me and what is comfortable and easy to maintain.

    How to travel full-time

    The Grand Adventure Laos

    I threw out almost all the clothes I used the past two years and have replaced them with fresh, new and comfortable. ¬†Watch for a blog soon all about my new travel wardrobe. I think you’re gonna love it.

    In addition we have our electronics and documents and toiletries, first aid and meds.¬†¬†We have our Scrabble game, our hiking poles, a selfie stick, an REI titanium French press, a can opener,a small knife, collapsible small cooler and colander. ¬†I have a new “butt cushion” to hopefully alleviate sciatic pain on long flights. ¬†I’ve thrown in some pens and pencils, scotch tape and packing tape, a bungee cord, cloths pens, plastic bags (multiple sizes) our headlamps and some extra batteries. ¬†Of course I don’t leave home without my Washington State University¬†flag, my Seattle¬†Seahawks flag and THE MUG.

    So there you have it. ¬†The details. ¬†I’ve probably forgotten something. ¬†We feel more prepared and less anxious than when we left two years ago. ¬†We are looking forward to this next phase.

    Ready to launch year three of the Grand Adventure! T minus 33 days.

    I welcome your questions.

    Fabulous!

     

     

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    What I Have Read Over the 18 Months Abroad

    Note – I am sharing this blog again at the request of one of my book club friends. ¬†Also, my reading time since arriving in the USA has been very limited, so I’m not sure when I will have a “new” Reading Wednesday to share. ¬†I’m currently half way through the epic novel “Ahab’s Wife” by Sena Jeter Naslund, a brilliant but very long book. ¬†So watch for a new Reading Wednesday as soon as I get through that masterpiece. Meanwhile, enjoy this blog once again.

    I’ve had a great deal of time to read over the past year and a half.  I enjoy reading very much and the Grand Adventure has offered me a wonderful opportunity to read more than ever before.  I started a list of the books I read and after nearly a year set my sights on finishing 100 books before we returned to the United States.

    I almost made it.  I read 93 books in 18 months.  Almost all (not all but almost) of these books I reviewed in the Reading Wednesday series on this blog.  I didn’t start Reading Wednesday until after we had been traveling for a few months, and since then it has become one of the most popular features on My Fab Fifties Life blog.  That makes me happy.

    I doubt I will be reading as much during my two and half months in the USA because I will be busy with family matters.  But I still have some books I haven’t reviewed so hopefully I can continue to review one book per week and you can continue to enjoy the weekly reviews.  Meanwhile, if you are interested, I have listed below all 93 books and the ones that have been reviewed are highlighted in green if you would like to go to that review on the blog just click on the link.  I’ve also put a gold star by some of my all time favorites!!

    Happy Reading everyone!  Reading is Fabulous!

    1. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

    2. Bangkok Secret by Anthony Gray

    3. Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

    4. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

    5. Today will be Different by Maria Simple

    6. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

    7. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

    8. I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb

    9. ⭐These is My Words by Nancy Turner

    10.⭐¬†97 Orchard Street by Jane Ziegelman

    11. Lady Susan by Jane Austin

    12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    13. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    14. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

    15. Tulip Fever by Deborah Muggach

    16. ⭐Michlings by Affinity Konar

    17. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

    18. Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

    19. War of the Worlds by HG Wells

    20. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

    21. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    22. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

    23. The Girls by Emma Cline

    24. Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie

    25. Swingtime by Zadie Smith

    26. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    27. ⭐Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    28. Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

    29. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

    30. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

    31. Thank you for Being Late by Thomas Friedman

    32. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

    33. ⭐Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    34. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

    35. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

    36. Dirty Chicks by Antonia Murphy

    37. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman

    38.⭐¬†Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    39. News of the World by Paulette Giles

    40. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    41. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    42. A 1000 Acres by Jane Smiley

    43. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald

    44. A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterson

    45. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

    46. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

    47. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    48. The Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Allameddine

    49. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

    50. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

    51. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    52.⭐¬†The Paris Wife by Paula McLean

    53. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

    54. Al Franken Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

    55. The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

    56. Human Acts by Han Kang

    57. The Zookeepers Wife by Angela Workman

    58. After the Fall by Charity Normal

    59. A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway

    60. Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

    61. ⭐The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    62. ⭐The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

    63. The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

    64. Circling the Sun by Paula McLean

    65. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

    66. A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

    67. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

    68. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

    69.⭐¬†The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows

    70. Star Dust by Neil Gaiman

    71. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

    72. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

    73. Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    74. ⭐My Antonia by Willa Cather

    75.⭐¬†Elinor Oiliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    76. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

    77. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    78. Sing Unburried Sing by Jesmyn Ward

    79. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    80. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    81. ⭐Station Eleven by Emily Saint John Mandel

    82. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

    83. The Girl Before by JP Delaney

    84. The Maze Runner by

    85. Still Water by Viveca Sten

    86. The Light of the Firefly by Paul Pen

    87. A River in the Darkness

    88. The Question of Red

    89. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    90. The Rapture of Canaan by Sherri Reynolds

    91. Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

    92. Neverhome by Laird Hunter

    93. Delicious Food  by James Hannaham

    Fab North America Travel

    A Wednesday in Gig Harbor Washington

    Day 44 in the USA

    It’s day 44 in the USA, the longest we have stayed in one place in the last two years. ¬†It’s starting to feel like home again. ¬†But today on Day 44 we really played the tourist card and enjoyed a Wednesday in Gig Harbor Washington.

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    The beautiful Cushman Trail

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    Kayaking in Gig Harbor Bay

    We used to live in Gig Harbor, a beautiful town in South Puget Sound. ¬†So we know it well. ¬†And yet much has changed in the two years we have been gone, and it’s a lot of fun to get out and enjoy the community from a tourists point of view.

    I got up early this morning and decided to do my morning run ending at my dentist appointment. ¬†I began running at the farthest North point on Gig Harbor’s Cushman Trail, a 6.2 mile paved trail that runs through the heart of Gig Harbor. ¬†I love this trail for how peaceful it is. ¬†As I ran four miles of the fairly hilly trail I saw bunnies, a deer, a squirrel and so many birds including a Pileated Woodpecker, a Flicker, an Osprey and a beautiful Goldfinch (the Washington State bird). ¬†It’s a beautiful and peaceful trail and one of the best things about Gig Harbor. ¬†A great start to my very full Wednesday.

    After my dentist appointment I walked back home via Soundview Drive, aptly named for the spectacular views of Puget Sound, Point Defiance in Tacoma and Vashon Island.

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    Colorful kayaks Gig Harbor Yacht Sales

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    A perfect day on the water

    Then we headed out to Kayak Gig Harbor Bay. ¬†We usually spend Wednesday’s with our Moms, so Arne’s Mom joined us for a lovely hour and half on the water. ¬†She had only kayaked once, and it was really a nice calm day so we sliced through the water and circled the bay on our kayaks we rented from Gig Harbor Yacht Sales. ¬†It was very enjoyable. ¬†Just like the Gondola ride I did with my Mom a couple

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    The Trolley at the Boat Yard

    weeks ago, getting out on the water is one of the best things to do when you are in Gig Harbor.  And kayaking gives you a work out too.

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    Making our project at AR Workshop

    Next we headed to lunch at the outdoor Trolley at the Boat Yard, a fun little spot right in the middle of the historic downtown. It wasn’t a hot day, but it was dry and comfortable so we ordered up and enjoyed our lunch on the outdoor picnic tables at this popular and affordable spot.

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    My canvas pillow in the works

    But our Wednesday in Gig Harbor didn’t stop there! ¬†Later in the afternoon my Mom arrived at our cottage and we headed out to AR Workshop in downtown Gig Harbor. ¬†This darling little shop is new to Gig Harbor and worth a visit. ¬†AR Workshop is a do-it-yourself craft paradise where you can make wooden signs, canvas art and more. ¬†My mom and I had a really great time making stenciled canvas pillows. ¬†It took about two hours and anybody can do it, yet it turned out very professional looking.

    Wednesday in Gig Harbor

    All done!

    I hope to go back again to AR Workshop and make one of their wooden signs. It was a great activity.

    So that was my Wednesday in Gig Harbor Рwhere you can enjoy nature, the harbor, exercise, lunch and arts and crafts all in one day Рa perfect Wednesday or anyday.  Gig Harbor, Washington РFabulous!

    Watch for more USA blogs coming soon.

     

    Fab North America Travel

    A Get-Away to Anderson Island (Pierce County Washington)

    Travel USA

    Location: Anderson Island Washington USA

     

    A weekend getaway on Anderson Island

    Bucolic scenes

    I grew up less than thirty miles from Anderson Island, in the south Puget Sound area of western Washington.  But I had never been there until we did a weekend getaway on Anderson Island.

    Why did I wait so long?

    Anderson Island is a short 15 min ferry ride from the cute and historic waterfront city of Steilacoom, a stones throw from the famous Chambers Bay Golf Club (home of the 2015 US Open).

    A weekend getaway on Anderson Island

    Island Kayaking

    But Anderson Island is not a tourist destination. There are only two airbnb’s and vacation homes and a couple of bed and breakfasts on the island. One restaurant and one cafe. And just one small market. So don’t come here looking for nightlife or shopping.

    So why would you come here? Peace and quiet. Bird watching. Kayaking. Cycling. Walking and hiking.

    A weekend getaway on Anderson Island

    Little cabin in the woods

    We spent one night in a cabin owned by a friend of ours. The cabin nestled cozily in the woods on tiny Pine Lake (actually a pond). From the deck we watched osprey pluck trout from the water as well as families fishing and hauling in some big trout. Should have brought my fishing pole!

    We ate lunch at the Riviera Golf Club restaurant and enjoyed the views looking out over Lake Josephine, one of two pretty little lakes on this island of less than 40 square miles.

    A weekend getaway on Anderson Island

    Lunch on Lake Josephine

    On Friday we cycled the south end of the island through bucolic farmland dotted with old barns and views of the Puget Sound.  On Saturday we cycled the more hilly north end of the island and visited the historic Johnson Farm and local history museum.

    A weekend getaway to Anderson Island

    Cycling on the sound

    Although Anderson Island has no bike lanes, the traffic is so light it’s a safe and serene place to enjoy time on the bikes. It would be an easy day trip too. Leave your car on the mainland and ride your bike on the ferry. The Pierce Transit Ferry runs about once an hour, but sometimes less frequent.  See the schedule here.  The ferry can only take 55 cars, so if you are just going for a day on the bike, definitely leave the car in Steilacoom.

    A weekend getaway on Anderson Island

    Cycling the quiet roads

    We often talk about where we see ourselves settling once our Grand Adventure finishes.  I’m frequently torn between a more urban home where I can walk to grocery store and entertainment or a place like Anderson Island where nature is your neighbor and life is quiet and slow.

    Time will tell…either way I‚Äôm sure I‚Äôll visit Anderson Island again where life slows down, neighbors wave and mother nature greets you every morning. Fabulous.

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    What’s Ahead for the Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in the USA

    In the beginning I really enjoyed the planning. Figuring out where to go, where to stay, how to get there and what to do.

    Unfortunately it‚Äôs now a bit of a chore and I am suffering from travel planning fatigue. But it’s a necessary chore for this nomad life we have chosen. Ahhhh first world problems…

    Keeping the details straight, connecting the

    Finding an oasis

    The Mug in Bali

    dots and STAYING WITHIN BUDGET is a monumental effort.  We have fallen into a pattern of having our plans set about six months out at any given time. Sometimes however, like now, we end up with even more advanced plans. For instance, now we are looking at Christmas through February in South and Central America. This is the height of the season there, so we are planning even further in advance.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Bulgaria

    Because we follow the sun on The Grand Adventure, we often hit high season. But because we also try to focus on less-touristy destinations, it usually works out. But, it still requires managing a lot of information, spending a lot of money on advance travel and lodging reservations, and trying to decide what we want to do and where we want spend our time.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Thailand

    We often split up these tasks. My husband just finished planning Brazil and Costa Rica for December and January, while I am deep into research of the rest of Central America for late winter and spring 2019.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in Australia

    Our goals remain the same;  see parts of the world we have never seen; revisit some past favorites; and experience cultures and places where few visitors go.  Over the past two years we have had amazing success with this strategy. And until arriving in the USA this past May 14th, we have stayed on budget. Our time in the USA however has blown our budget.

    We will get back on track as soon as we leave the USA again. We have our plans confirmed now from Aug 7 – Feb 15th. During this time we will visit the following places; Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, Miami, Key West, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua.

    Travel Planning Fatigue

    The Mug in the Seychelles

    We are still researching the following possibilities from March – late May 2019; Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba and Jamaica.

    So we continue to plan – and to suffer from travel planning fatigue. But My Fab Fifties Life requires being organized and so we have become adept at the planning and managing the details.

    A full and fabulous life.

    Watch for more USA blogs coming soon.